A legal luminary, Yusuf Ali SAN, has described as undemocratic, forcing other universities who are not willing to join strike.
He maintained that the federal government should not be negotiating with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) but each institution should negotiate with their staff in line with their ability and capability to pay them based on agreement.
Speaking at a press conference heralding the 6th biennial conference of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities in Nigeria (COPSUN) at the Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Ali who is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Osun State University, also maintained that it is not democratic to force people to stay at home because others are voting, saying Nigeria is not practicing democracy in its real sense.
He said, “it is quite unfortunate that all the negotiations done so far with ASUU have been within Federal Government and the union. Our organization has never been involved, and that is part of the problems. How do FG negotiate with ASUU, only to come and force their agreement on those that are not party to it?
“Outside this country, it is the Universities themselves and not the government that does the negotiation in line with their capacity. That is why you will find out that, in many universities in developed societies, professors don’t earn similar salaries. You earn according to what you have been able to bring to the university in terms of grants.”
He said the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Is-haq Oloyede, will deliver a keynote speaker at the 6th biennial conference while the former Executive Secretary of the. National Universities Commission (NUC) and Chairman Governing Council, National Open University, Professor Peter Okebukola and other 19 Professors would be speakers and discussants at the conference scheduled to hold between 21st and 25th March.
He disclosed that the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi would be the chairman at the opening session, while the governor of Osun and visitor to the university, Adegboyega Oyetola, will declare the conference open.
Ali SAN who also doubles as Chairman of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-owned Universities in Nigeria, noted that COPSUN has been intervening in addressing some academic issues bedeviling the ivory towers.
He stressed that challenges of higher education in the country and the resulting negative impact on the quality of products of the system remain a burning issue that has engaged the attention of stakeholders.
According to him, the challenges of higher education that COPSUN has addressed includes but not limited to “acute underfunding, disconnect between the curriculum and the demand and realities of economy, graduate unemployment and employability.
“Others issues are political interference in university governance, erosion of autonomy, poor infrastructural and research facilities, inadequate staffing, especially of academic staff, and weak linkages between universities and industries.”
He commended the state governor and visitor to the university, Oyetola, for given the university opportunity to operate freely without interference.